Celebrating the Holidays as a Birthmother

Christmas Stocking, Sock Hanging Over Grunge Wooden Background

Whether you have an open or closed adoption, the holidays can be a bittersweet time for birth parents. Birthmother Janel Indingaro offers biological parent support and advice for finding peace during the holiday season.

Here it is November, the beginning of another beautiful holiday season. A holiday season that is supposed to be about family, giving thanks, and feeling peace and happiness. However, when this season begins it reminds me that my oldest daughter is not here. It reminds me that with each memory I am making, I am making it without her. Until I found complete peace with my decision, I had a difficult time celebrating these days without feeling some emptiness.

Eighteen years ago was my first holiday season without this beautiful angel—a child that I should have been giving thanks for, a child that I should be singing holiday songs to. I still gave thanks for her, it just wasn’t out loud, and my mom and I would go and buy her gifts during the Christmas season. I ALWAYS wrote her letters during this season so she may someday see that she was built into my memories.

Twelve years ago was my first holiday season with another child. This season I had an angel that I was blessed to have with me in every way. These first holidays with this little girl reminded me even more that I was missing a piece of my heart. A reminder with every turn I made, every new memory I made with my daughter, I felt a pang of sadness that A was not with us.

Twelve years ago I started emailing A’s parents during the holidays. Having the ability to write to her adoptive parents during these times helped with the sadness I would feel. Knowing how A was celebrating the holidays made it easier to get through these times full of family and creating of traditions.

Now, eighteen years later, I still write her family. I am no longer sad during these times. I still write; that is how I get through, to create memories for us. Since I cannot take pictures with A during the holidays I create a picture full of words. I write and write and write.

We can celebrate with our children that are not with us. We can create a stocking for them that may never be hung, we can buy gifts that may never be given, and we can give thanks for our children that we may or may not ever hold again. We can celebrate with our children in spirit even if we never celebrate with them physically. It is okay for us to grieve for a moment because our hearts miss our children more during these times, however, it is important that we create happy times for ourselves during the season. Our children would not want us to celebrate these beautiful times with sadness in our hearts.